The Los Angeles Dodgers Mookie Betts connects for a single in the fourth inning in front of San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey in game 5 of the NLDS at Oracle Park in San Francisco (AP News photo)
By Jeremy Kahn
SAN FRANCISCO-Of the series between the two best teams in Major League Baseball in 2021 came down the final at-bat and it was the Los Angeles Dodgers standing in the end.
Cody Bellinger hit a seeing eye single in the top of the ninth inning that scored Justin Turner from second base, helping the Dodgers to a 2-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants in Game Five of the National League Division Series before a crowd of 42,275 at Oracle Park.
I actually did think he had a fastball and I thought the slider was and Bellinger was not able to get underneath it until that one swing, said Giants manager Gabe Kapler.
The Bellinger single gave the Dodgers the lead for good and Game Three starter Max Scherzer came on to close it out for the Dodgers, who move on to their second NLCS appearance and their fifth appearance in the last six years.
Scherzer did run into some trouble in the bottom of the ninth inning, as after he got Brandon Crawford to fly out to Chris Taylor in right field, Turner committed a fielding error at third base that allowed Kris Bryant reach first base that brought LaMonte Wade, Jr., who became the late inning hero for the Giants during the season; however, Wade, Jr., was unable to be the hero, when he struck out for the second out of the inning and then Scherzer got Wilmer Flores on a check swing to end the game, the series and the season for the Giants.
It looked like he did not go. I mean that was my take on it, said Kapler.
Turner reached with one out in the inning after he was hit on the shoulder on a pitch thrown by losing pitcher Camilo Doval, who then gave up a single to Gavin Lux and then Bellinger singled to right field to score Turner with the series winning run for the defending World Champion Dodgers, who will face the Atlanta Braves in the NLCS beginning on Saturday night at Truist Park in Atlanta. This will be the second year in a row that the Dodgers and the Braves will face each other in the NLCS, last season, the Dodgers came back from a 3-1 deficit to win the NLCS in seven games.
The Dodgers finally got to Logan Webb in the top of the sixth inning, Corey Seager hit a flare down the left field line for a double, that scored Mookie Betts from second base to break up the scoreless tie.
Betts was the star of the game for the Dodgers, as he went four-for-four at the plate, including a double in the top of the sixth inning that came right before Seager dropped the double down the left field line that gave the Dodgers the lead for a short period of time.
The four hits by Betts were a postseason career high.
He is one of the best players in baseball for a reason. He is a pretty incredible player and pretty incredible guy, honestly, said Logan Webb.
Darin Ruf tied up the game with one swing of the bat in the bottom of the sixth inning, as he launched a solo home run over the center field wall. It was the first career post season home run for Ruf.
Julio Urias, who pitched a masterpiece on Saturday in the 9-2 win by the Dodgers gave up the home run to Ruf. Urias, who went five innings on Saturday night, as he allowed one run on three hits, walking one, striking out five and threw 72 pitches looked unhittable until Ruf unloaded on the 3-2 pitch that tied up the game.
In all, Urias went four innings, allowing one run on three hits, walking no one and striking out five on four days rest.
Webb, who struck out 10 in the Game One victory for the Giants, came back to throw seven innings, allowing one run on four hits, walking one and striking out seven in his second career postseason career start.
I felt good. Everything was moving the way I wanted to, and yeah it was good. Buster caught a great game, said Webb.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who originally stated that he was going to start Urias instead started Corey Knebel, who pitched the first inning, where he allowed just a double to Buster Posey and nothing else before turning the ball over to the bullpen.
Brusdar Graterol then came up on to replace Knebel, as he also went one inning, allowing two hits and was able to strand two runners on base, when he struck out Webb to end the threat and the inning.
Tyler Rogers came on to replace Webb in the top of the eighth inning, and he got into a jam after he led off the inning by getting Taylor to fly out to Bryant in center field, but then A.J. Pollock came off the bench to pinch hit for Blake Treinen and reached on an infield single that went off the glove of Wilmer Flores.
Betts then came up with his fourth hit of the game to put runners on first and second with one out, but then Rogers struck out Seager for the second out of the inning and that was end of the night for Rogers, who was replaced by Camilo Doval, who on one pitch got Trea Turner to fly out to Austin Slater in right field to get out of the inning and the jam.
NOTES: This was the 27th postseason appearance for the Giants and the 13th since they moved to California in 1958, and it was the first time that the Giants and Dodgers ever faced off versus each other in the postseason.
Kapler is the fifth consecutive Giants manager to lead his team to the postseason, joining Roger Craig (1987, 1989), Dusty Baker (1997, 2000 and 2002), Felipe Alou (2003), Bruce Bochy (2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016) and Kapler (2021).
UP NEXT: The season is over for the Giants, who will meet up again in Spring Training in February of 2022 at Scottsdale Stadium in Scottsdale, Arizona.
On the other hand, the Dodgers will head to Atlanta, where they will face the Braves beginning on Saturday night in the NLCS.
This is the 15th trip to the NLCS for the Dodgers, breaking the tie with the St. Louis Cardinals for the most trips to the NLCS since divisional play began in 1969.